Chapter 15: Consequences
Solas stood oddly rigid at the foot of a long holo-glass meeting table. The room was mostly empty except for the table at the centre of the room, 12 simple plastic chairs around it, and a few monitors on the three otherwise stark walls. The fourth wall along the long side of the table was a window which looked out over the city. Ikora Rey peered out through the window while Zavala Tzu gave Solas a full dressing down.
“In all my years of command I’ve never seen such an astounding disregard for objectives. Your mission was to protect the assets! Scientists and site. Now all we have to show for all those months of work are bodies to bury, lost guardians and perhaps the most important location on Mars just handed over to the Cabal!
“Sir.” Solas said. Ikora was not sure if he was agreeing, trying to interject something or simply proving he was still listening. The last option put a bit of a grin on her face, which grew ever so slightly each time he said it.
“Do you have any idea what you simply handed to the enemy? I sure don’t, because all of our best minds were still trying to crack the place!” Zavala growled. Commander Tzu was a lion. Normally a calm and collected creature, his roar put a primal fear into most beings that prized their own survival.
“Sir.” Solas wondered if Cayde was similarly laying into Vatyr or if they were just sharing drinks and stories again.
“We’re still picking up stray guardians from the surface as they pop up, and each time we have to engage the Cabal inside a new exclusion zone that we have yet to crack. You’re the one who told them to scatter and fend for themselves. Do you think that was a good call? Do you think that puts us in a good position? We’re still cleaning up your mess days later, warlock!”
“Sir.” Solas hadn’t heard about Telemica surfacing yet, but he’d been in debrief almost the entire time.
Zavala slammed his fist hard on the table. In front of him were reports depicting the details of the defeat. Before he could continue, a message popped up on the glass just under his still-clenched fist. The commander let out an audible deep breath and got up. “They’ve found Telemica. She’s in critical but Squire kept her alive.” he said to neither warlock in particular before exiting the room.
Solas’ stance relaxed an almost imperceptible degree at the news. The warlock pair let the news hang in the air for a few minutes, neither moving, neither needing to.
“Even if she died, Squire would have been able to recreate her.” Solas noted.
“Titans see death as equal parts insult and defeat. Pulling back from the brink of death is an important state of being for them. It shows their tenacity. Their elan.” Ikora said as Solas joined her for the view. “You did the right thing, my friend, and in the right way. Zavala knows that, but when control of the situation breaks down so much and so quickly, he sees it as a personal failure. When the exclusion zone shifted and cut him out of contact from what he knew would be a dire situation… He’s not angry at you so much as he’s angry at himself.”
“Suspension.” Solas said. He didn’t have eyes, but Ikora knew him well enough to know he was looking far below at the life down on the street. He was looking at the reason for his existence.
“Yes. Fireteam Warden is suspended pending the completion of the investigation and any further reprimands or punishment, which I am sure won’t be needed. Just give it a few weeks to blow over. Consider it an unscheduled sabbatical. ”
Ikora put a hand on Solas’ shoulder, “I’m glad you made it out, old man.”